After recovering from a painful back injury, Claudia Markowicz thought she was ready to get back into the gym.
“I went to an exercise class where the instructor had us do over 100 burpees throughout the hour,” said the 32-year-old from Lewis Center. “I ended up hurting my back again and barely able to walk the next day.”
If you’ve taken a group exercise class or boot camp you’ve probably seen or done a burpee.
The move combines a vertical jump, squat, pushup and a plank performed in one fluid motion, and often for multiple repetitions. Burpees have become increasingly popular in gyms, training sessions and classes, at times even used as a form of punishment by some instructors. Given its level of difficulty, the burpee is often performed incorrectly, and as Markowicz experienced, can even result in injury.
”Burpees are an advanced, full-body movement that requires strength, coordination and endurance,” explained Jack Mougin, president of Good Bodies Personal Fitness and Wellness. “Specifically, users must have adequate core and shoulder-girdle strength, as well as good hip mobility.”
Burpees place a lot of stress on the joints, specifically the knees and hips. The lower back is also at risk for injury if the person performing the exercise does not have adequate core strength. Doing multiple burpees at a time increases this risk, because as people get tired they are likely to get sloppy.
“Form can never suffer for the sake of more reps,” Mougin said.
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